From Naomi Osaka to Lewis Hamilton, Simone Biles to Julius Thomas, athletes, and sports stars have been opening up recently on the mental toll their sport takes on them. Of course, we've known about the physical side for a long time, be it Andy Murray’s hips or Luke Voit’s knee. Now we are learning how the pressure, injuries, training, the lonely lifestyle on the circuit, and media pressure affect them.
Sports stars are, after all, also human beings like the rest of us – yes, even titans such as Cristiano Ronaldo. Yet, sport, or more specifically exercise, is also part of the solution to our growing mental health issues worldwide. At the forefront of this quest to win the inner battles of the self is a relatively new start-up, Kill Crew.
A fast-growing brand with a conscience
Launched in only 2019, before the pandemic which altered so many lives, Kill Crew has exploded onto the gym, MMA, and sports fashion stage. The company, founded by designer Colton Dobson, raked in $10 million in sales in its first full year and has grown its social media presence to over 150,000 followers.
Where it differentiates itself from other style brands, however, is in its approach to the inner battle. Some brands align themselves with this segment, be it Vikings or Steampunk or a particular sport, or even loggers, but Dobson wants his to focus on mental health. This moral quest, combined with cool gear, has attracted sports stars and celebrities such as Chase Edmonds, Travie McCoy, Kelly Oubre Jr, Taylor Holder, and others to wear them.
Getting mentally and physically fit
Having grown the brand significantly in just over two years, Kill Crew focuses on expanding its core mission. The company is already famous in the gym and MMA communities, so it makes sense to grow in this direction.
In 2022, they will be opening gyms across America. There will not be any ordinary gyms, though. Instead, you can generally divide gyms into two broad types – the small independent gym with a core community and personal trainers, and the cold corporate gym where you clock in and clock out whenever you feel like it and rarely see the same people twice.
Kill Crew has a different plan. Their proposed gyms will have accessible extra–free on-site mental health professionals, whether a newbie to working out or an experienced bodybuilder, a martial artist, or an accountant; each gym member can see professional help and expertise in whatever mental health issue concerns them.
Tackling the mental health mountain
This is a vitally important service. Mental health and physical health often go hand in hand. One influences the other. Even food can change one’s mood – sugar crashes, being a good example.
Even if we look at America alone, you can make an argument that 50 per cent of the nation is facing some kind of mental health issue at any one moment or during their lifetime. Here are some numbers (America only):
- PTSD (approximately 15 million adults)
- Sleep disorders including insomnia (70 million people)
- Anxiety (40 million people)
- Eating disorders (29 million)
- Phobias (19 million)
- OCD (2.5 million people)
Kill Crew aims to be an ambitious fashion brand but at the same time be at the forefront of helping people, sports stars or not, face their mental health challenges and win that inner victory. It might not solve everything, but it’ll be an essential first step for many.
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